FOR GIRLS WHO WALK THROUGH FIRE

A searing examination of sexual assault centering teen witches who fight back.

A contemporary debut that deals with real-life issues head-on.

Elliott D’Angelo-Brandt is making a list. Every week, as she sits in the Santa Barbara, California, kindergarten classroom where her sexual assault support group meets, she observes the other teens and considers who should join her coven. Eventually she settles on prim and proper Madeline, bubbly rich girl Chloe, and introspective and athletic Bea. With the help of Elliott’s late mother’s spell book, the quartet set out to get what society won’t provide: revenge on their attackers. The spells and their repercussions astonish and begin to scare the young witches as their power—and its consequences—begins to grow. DeRose unflinchingly examines the impact of sexual assault on teens and the various paths there are toward healing. Each having experienced different types of assault, the girls relive their personal histories via shifting perspectives, providing nuance and complexity. Their healing journeys are both hopeful and realistic, as DeRose presents a cleareyed assessment of the subject, including society’s dismissal of victims’ stories and the difficult path to judicial justice. Their growing friendships are compelling and well depicted. Elliott and Madeline are cued white; Chloe is a transracial adoptee from Korea, and Bea is Black. The book explores the impact of race on the girls’ experiences.

A searing examination of sexual assault centering teen witches who fight back. (Paranormal. 14-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781454948872

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Union Square & Co.

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide to Murder series , Vol. 1

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

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Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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